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In the beginning….there is gratitude.

What’s the first thing I should say after assuming the presidency? I can think of no words more important or more heartfelt than “Thank you.” As my predecessor, the amazing Danna Bell said in her first blogpost, “We are SAA”. The fabric and nature of SAA is woven from strong, colorful, and unique threads that are our members, our leaders, our staff, and our supporters. Acknowledging all the ways in which people contribute to SAA could become a dissertation-sized post and even then likely only skim the surface.

It would be an interesting exercise to estimate the amount of contributed time that members give and even more so to consider the “cost-sharing” it represents. Begin with service on roundtables, sections, committees, boards, council and officers. Then add on the time and energy members give to preparing sessions for the annual meeting, writing articles for Archival Outlook or The American Archivist. Now add the mentoring, navigating, and informal advising that goes on between us at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year. Our membership is the mother lode of professional generosity.

The dedication of the SAA staff is priceless in their responsiveness to members, their skill in navigating the management of our association, and in the gift of their positive attitude toward service. The more I have been involved in leadership, the more they dazzle me with their ability to simultaneously juggle balls, dishes, axes, fruit, and the occasional flaming torch.

As the year goes forward, there will doubtless be times of challenge, accomplishment, bafflement, contention, energy, and maybe a few hearty chuckles. We will be what we make of ourselves and I am grateful for your contributions to the amazing patchwork quilt that is the Society of American Archivists.

Many, many thanks to all of you for all you do.

Kathleen

SAA’s distinguished new rep to NHPRC: Peter Gottlieb!

Receipt of the latest NHPRC e-newsletter today reminded me our mega-talented and very wise past President Peter Gottlieb is our new rep to the Commission. Making such appointments is one of the privileges of the SAA President, and I sure felt fortunate that Peter was willing to serve. He’s one of those members whose passion and influence endures into retirement. He’s also a member of our hard-working Government Affairs Working Group and represented the Society at last summer’s summit of regional archival societies in San Diego. And it’s clear that things archival aren’t his only passion: as his Facebook pal, I’m aware that he recently spent a week in El Salvador helping Habitat for Humanity build houses–and he wouldn’t be a true Wisconsite if he weren’t an avid fisherman!

Thank you, Peter!

A day in the life …

OK, so today wasn’t exactly a routine day in my role as the current SAA President; SAA issues pretty much dominated it, which isn’t always the case. (And, sad to say, on a day when my day job was crying out for attention even more than usual! My spectacular/generous/supportive boss is no doubt ruing the day that he enthusiastically encouraged me to run for this office.) Given that we on the SAA Council often hear that what we do is totally mysterious [insert spooky soundtrack here], I thought some of you might find a rundown of the stuff that went down sort of interesting. At the very least, it’ll tell me where my day went. Continue reading